Fire at 38th & Admiral

Thanks to the tipster who texted us to make sure we had heard about this big callout – fire in a house at 3809 Admiral, affecting traffic in the area for a while too. One WSB reader says she was dining across the bay and could see the smoke and flames from there, at the height of this fire. 10:03 PM UPDATE: TV reports say the house is gutted inside, the couple who lived there got out OK, and investigators don’t know what started the fire. Meantime, here are two photos sent to us by WSB readers who snapped them as smoke poured from the house — first one from Mark (thank you!!!!):


Second photo is from Jess (thank you too!!!!) — you can really see how traffic was blocked off on Admiral (if you didn’t happen to get caught in it yourself):


Here’s some video of crews mopping up — mostly flashing lights — we’ll check back on the scene in the morning too:

10 Replies to "Fire at 38th & Admiral"

  • Condo Rat September 23, 2007 (9:37 pm)

    Are these recent WS fires worrying anyone else? Too close for comfort, I tell ya.

    I saw on the news that many are caused by people turning on their heat when their ducts have not been cleaned. The dust/debris in the ducts catches fire and… Now I’m wondering what maintenance I should be doing on my electric baseboard heaters. Anyone know?

  • cleat September 24, 2007 (7:19 am)

    Dust is combustable .. At the least you will see “smudges” above heaters where dust burns off in such minute amounts it doesn’t actually flame but does smoke.

    I’m a big fan of proactive vacuuming!!! Use a bristle brush and the little crevace tool .. whatever you can to dislodge dust from baseboard heaters and in-the-wall heaters too … turn off the breakers first just to be careful … on basebaords most have a long flat covor panel in the front that will snap off … various jiggling will tell you how yours works… often a lift up and pull out at the top and it will drop off. Be careful not to bend those thin metal fins as they do bend easily … and the air flow around them is what gets the heat from the heater to you .. if they are mashed together, no air flows …. For in-the-wall fan forced heaters, again, turn off the breaker, and usually just a couple of screws will remove the cover and give you access to vacuum and losten dust with an old tooth brush. On both, there may be a little dust gets on the heating element in the process which will make a burning smell when first turned on …. again use the vac a lot when cleaning… and this will be minimized

  • Christopher Boffoli September 24, 2007 (8:07 am)

    You can clean your electric baseboards for better efficiency. But I don’t think you need to worry about them spontaneously combusting as they don’t get anywhere near hot enough to burst into flames. You’d also be served by not believing the fear-mongering TV media so much. Some of the recent area fires have been started by things like arson and people smoking cigarettes in bed.

  • miws September 24, 2007 (8:28 am)

    Another thing about baseboard heaters, is to make sure there is no furniture or other combustibles against them.

    Furniture and drapes should be at least a foot away, if I recall, and if you’re a sloppy housekeeper like I am, make sure no papers, or other items have fallen upon or next to them.


  • Mike Dady September 24, 2007 (10:19 am)

    There was a house fire last week in the 4800 block of 23rd Ave which apparently started by the accidental placement of clothing/bedding onto electric baseboard heater(s). SFD was very quick to respond with plenty of firefighters and equipment. No one harmed thankfully:-)

  • MargL September 24, 2007 (10:32 am)

    Always a good idea to dispose of your smoking materials properly.

  • Sue September 24, 2007 (11:04 am)

    Just read that it may have been caused by a cigarette:

  • NATINSTL September 24, 2007 (11:05 am)

    There’s an article about the fire on the PI website, looks like it was a cigarette that caused it

  • WSB September 24, 2007 (11:47 am)

    thanks all for the link – we just got back from making the rounds including getting aftermath pix of the burned house, posting that shortly.

  • More than Informed May 12, 2008 (11:35 am)

    I know it has been months since this fire and probably old news. The house at 3809 was built in 1916 and last remodeled in the 1930’s. Faulty electrical wiring was the cause of this fire. Not “improperly disposed of smoking materials”.

    Don’t start plugging in Air Conditioners, Laser Printers, Computers, Microwave Ovens and anything else modern that didn’t exist in the 30’s. These things stress really old “post and peg” wiring. The old cloth surrounding the wires gets hot and starts to smolder, than after hours or even days it will reach its combustion point and start a flash fire that is out of control in a matter of moments. Add modern furniture to the equation and you have just added fuel to the fire.

    The house has now been rebuilt with all modern electrical.

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